Ecwid raises $5M to help websites run online stores

E-commerce startup Ecwid brought in $5 million in series B funding on Wednesday, raising the company’s total funding to $6.5 million. The company helps small-to-medium sized businesses create online stores that can be hosted on their websites.

Ecwid’s product is essentially a widget that can be embedded into the code of an organization’s website similar to how one would embed a YouTube video to display a video, said Ecwid’s president Jim O’Hara. While big-name companies like Wal-Mart have the resources available to construct their own online stores with relative ease, small-to-medium sized businesses that may have constructed their own sites on popular open-source web-building services like Drupal do not have the luxury to craft online marketplaces to hawk their wares from the ground up.

The company claims that its users are not forced to use a particular website platform or content management system, because the JavaScript widget can be plopped into an already functioning site and take on its visual characteristics. The product can also be embedded into a company’s Facebook page; Ecwid asserts that it’s the most popular store-building app on Facebook.


While there are other e-commerce platforms available like Shopify, Bigcommerce and Magento, O’Hara said his company’s product differs in that it is hosted natively on a client’s website as opposed to being displayed on a remote window. Because it is hosted natively, a user can manage the widget within one’s content management system.

Supposedly, the widget will not hamper a website’s speed, O’Hara said, because the widget consists of only a few lines of code and will not add to overhead. Additionally, O’Hara claimed that his product adheres to common SEO protocols and ensures that the a website will still be indexed.

“Part of the trick is still accounting for [search-engine] optimization that is required,” O’Hara said. “If buyers cant find them, they aren’t successful.”

The company offers a freemium service for companies that wish to sell less than 10 products on their sites. If a company wants to bulk up on its storefront, it would have to participate in a monthly subscription plan based on how many items it wants to sell.

So far, the San Diego-based firm touts 500,000 registered merchants spanning the whole world, however O’Hara would not mention how many of those 500,000 merchants are paying customers or freemium users. He did say that the rate of converting freemium users to playing clients is “well above the industry standard.”

Ecwid was spun out of the online shopping platform X-Cart in 2009. The company has 65 employees, of which a portion works on development in Russia.

iTech Capital was the primary backer of this round of funding with Runa Capital, Ecwid’s series A funding provider, also contributing. With the cash infusion, the company plans on investing in product development as well as adding to its partner channel, which includes web development companies like Drupal, Joomla, and Wix.